iFixit rips into MacBook Pro 13 Touch Bar and Google Pixel 3a

100% human

Ripping reading – see what makes the MacBook Pro 13 Touch Bar and the Google Pixel 3a tick – the iFixit teardown way.

We love a good iFixit teardown. It appeals to the inner nerd and often reveals secrets that marketing hype oftern overlooks – or does not want looked at, at all.

iFixit Teardown – Apple MacBook Pro 13 Touch Bar 2019 – RIP function keys

iFixit says it’s a mix of old and new like the Curate’s Egg (a thing that is partly good and partly bad). The design now dictates a soldered SSD (bad – no upgrades) modular twin Thunderbolt 3 ports (good), smaller speaker and heatsink (bad) and a T2 security chip (good).

Oh, and one other bad thing – it still uses the infamous butterfly keyboard gen 3 that is already on Apple’s Keyboard Service Program. That alone is enough incentive to put off a purchase until Apple goes back to a standard scissor style chiclet keyboard that is reliable.

Some of the key specs are (Australian website)

  • 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600, 227ppi, claimed P3 colour gamut, 500 nits
  • 8th generation Core Core i5 or Core i7
  • 8 or 16GB soldered memory non-upgradable
  • 128/256/512/1000/2000TB soldered non-upgradeable SSD
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports (as torn down) or four port
  • Touch Bar with integrated Touch ID sensor – no function keys
  • 58Wh battery and 61W USB-C charger

It scores a 2-out-of-10 for repairability primarily for the limited life of the soldered SSD (TBW 240GB per GB). It appears that only Apple has the technology to do repairs here.

iFixit teardown is here

iFixit Teardown – Google Pixel 3a

GadgetGuy gave it a very respectable 4.3-out-of-5 in its review here saying, “The Pixel 3a and 3a XL were no surprise. Both are basically a Pixel 3/XL (GadgetGuy review here) with a slower Qualcomm SD670 processor (was SD845) and the same camera sans the Pixel Visual Core (the SD670 does this). There are a few other changes, but a Pixel is a Pixel and deserves consideration as such.”

iFixit confirmed a few interesting things.

  • The display is Samsung AMOLED, not LG pOLED as used in the Pixel 3/XL
  • The battery is slightly larger at 11.55W and uses a more efficient Qualcomm SD670 SoC
  • Pixel breaks the rules, yet no one cares – no QI, polycarbonate everywhere, larger bezels, no micro-SD support (but Google Photo storage) and no IP rating
  • And still one of the best cameras in the business – 12.2 MP, ƒ/1.8, OIS main camera with DPAF

It rates 6-out-of-10 for repairability, but its Dragontrail glass is not as shatter resistant as Gorilla Glass.

iFixit teardown is here